Some Tories are happy to let the church step in when the state fails, as it did in Victorian times. But times have changed

The Church of England (C of E) was once referred to as “the Tory party at prayer”, which remains the case in the emptying pews of the rolling shires. But in the vicarages and bishops’ palaces, a quiet revolution has long taken since taken place. Openly Conservative clergy are an endangered breed, and openly Tory bishops have gone the way of the dodo.

Institutionally speaking, the C of E and the Conservative party have been engaged in open warfare since the days of Margaret Thatcher. It was then, memorably, that Alan Webster, dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, conducted a piece of high-end trolling by proposing that the Lord’s prayer be spoken in Spanish at the Falklands war victory celebration service.

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